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Do Alaskans Really get Paid to Live There?
Whenever I travel to the Lower 48, I usually get asked this question: “Do you really get paid just for living in Alaska?” My answer typically sounds like an economist trying to answer a politician’s question. There’s a lot to unpack for me to give you a full answer, but the bottom line is “kinda.”[…]
Life after the Legislature
You probably didn’t notice, but I haven’t written on here for nearly two years. The reason is simple: I was working in Alaska’s Capitol. Although I didn’t win my election for the State House in 2020, I still had the chance to work in the legislature. Between the potential problem of saying something on the[…]
A Quick Look at the Different Proposed Amendments to Alaska’s Permanent Fund
As Alaska continues to work through falling oil revenues, changes to its Permanent Fund appear inevitable. There are currently six resolutions up for debate that would adjust the way the Permanent Fund functions. This article takes a high-level look at the differences and similarities between those proposals. The Current Language Before we look at what[…]
Turning oil wells into money wells
When oil started flowing off Alaska’s North Slope, State leaders knew they had a problem. Because the natural course of an oil field’s life is to decline, it wasn’t hard to imagine that revenues would follow suit. If Alaska spent the money as it entered the treasury, it would cause a boom a bust in[…]
Alaska by the Numbers – December 2020
As the New Year begins, we will have to wait another month for the official data on how the last one ended. But, we can take some time to look at the information we already have to gain some insight into how the year wrapped up. The Labor Market Continues to Suffer It’s hard to[…]
A Closer Look at Alaska’s FY22 Budget Proposal
Governor Dunleavy released his proposal for the Fiscal Year 2022 budget last week. It will serve as the starting place for the legislature as they begin work in January. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) documents, the proposal includes $294.6 million in reductions. Unfortunately, people often speak first and sort out the[…]
Alaska by the Numbers – November 2020
November 2020 was a month of resolving uncertainty and moving back toward normal. Alaska’s economy still faces significant headwinds, but recovery is in sight. Here are some of the highlights. Alaska’s labor market improved, but is still hurting The Alaska Department of Labor reports that Alaska’s official unemployment rate is back to pre-pandemic levels. The[…]
32nd Legislature Outlook
The government’s actions have a major impact on our economy. The decisions on how much to spend, tax, and distribute to the people all ripple through the rest of the system. Now that the election results are in, we can start to speculate on what the legislature will look like during the 2021 session. Senate[…]
Alaska by the Numbers – October 2020
The Covid-19 pandemic is increasing around the world again as the cold weather season begins — just as every predictive model in the world suggested it would. Calls for aggressive actions to combat the virus are wreaking havoc on the markets. Fears of another round of shut-downs bring back bad memories of negative oil prices[…]
How the Permanent Fund Works
Talking about the Permanent Fund can be confusing. There are a lot of moving pieces. But, the illustration above shows how all of those pieces connect. The rest of this article will try to break the key points down a little more clearly. There is a rich history around the fund, its intent, and its[…]